Getting To The Playa
It might take awhile.
Let's Go To Burning Man!
Burning Man is held each year in Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, just north of Reno (here, I made a Google Map for you). Wild guess here but as you are looking for tips on getting out there, Black Rock City is probably nowhere near where you are right now. But that doesn't mean you can't get there! You even have options! Just look, we've put them in a sexy, sexy table format:
And now for the texty, texty version of the exact same information:
Burner Express Bus
A lot of Melons don't live within driving distance of the Burn, so flying to Reno or San Francisco and taking the Burner Express is a great option! The Burner Express is a bus that goes directly onto and off of the playa without waiting in line and is quickly becoming one of the best ways to get out to the Playa. It’s got a low carbon footprint, is not that pricey, is reliable and, best of all, it gets to skip the line coming and going! Starting in 2016, Burner Express riders can even enter Black Rock City on the Saturday before the gates open. Some of the buses even stop to let you buy groceries on the way in.
Melon Tips For Your Express Pleasure:
Info for the Burner Express is right here.
The earliest buses into BRC now start Saturday before the gates officially open and do not require a Work Access Pass.
Pro-tip: if you want to leave with the Burner Express, see the Temple burn and participate in camp strike on Sunday, you’ll want a later flight on Monday. The last Express bus on Sunday of Temple burn leaves at noon and the first Express bus on Monday after Temple burn leaves at 6AM - and the Temple burn is awesome!
In 2016 Burning Man began offering something called Burner Express Plus tickets, which are regular priced Burning Man tickets that you can only use if you take the Bus. BxB Plus tickets are sold in a separate lottery through your Burner Profile. More info here and on our tickets page.
If you leaving on the Burner Express Bus, they will provide you with a trash and recycle bag, which count towards your requirement of taking trash out with you. Don't forget to get those bags when you arrive, so they can be used throughout the week.
Drive Your Own Car
With your own wheels you can easily come and go as you please, bringing your stuff along with you. But also? You have to deal with hella shitty traffic on a two-lane road for hours, having to clean a whole lotta playa dust out of your dream machine and - unless you carpool, which you should! - you’ll be leaving a hefty environmental footprint. Also we’ll probably make you take more trash home if you bring your own car.
Did you mean to say “Drive Your Own Rental Car” there? Yeah, the same stuff applies, but also rentals will cost you more… And everybody in Nevada knows you aren’t renting that car to go camping. They will make you scrub that dust off if you don’t want to pay even more and may ask for a larger deposit than normal. That goes double if you are contemplating an RV (seriously, folks in Utah and Colorado are quite clear on what you want that big old rolling house for the week before Labor Day).
More Melon Tips For Those With Wheels:
If you are planning to bring and/or stay in an RV you MUST READ THIS.
You need a vehicle pass to drive your car onto the Playa. See our ticketing page for more on that.
Need directions to get to the Playa? Click right here!
Oh, and also, READ THESE tips and rules for handling the traffic, because seriously, the traffic getting into and out of Black Rock City is awful.
Hitching a ride is as old as the open road. And you honestly are probably not going to find a safer circumstance to share a car with strangers than heading out to That Thing in the Desert. Burners are friendly folk who are happy to help and like to leave as little of a trace as possible: the more people in a car, the smaller the carbon footprint.
Ridesharing out from the Reno airport is pretty easy - there is literally a table at the airport - and a number of Melons have done it (seriously, just ask about it on our Facebook group!). The official Burning Man Rideshare site has folks looking to split rides from all over the country!
As for hitching a ride back from the Playa? That’s super easy. You can literally just stand at the gate with your hand out and you will get a ride. Or you can bike around town with a cute sign. Just give yourself some leeway to get where you are going because you will be on somebody else’s time schedule.
Melon Tips For Hitching Melons:
Check out the Burning Man Rideshare page to learn more.
You can try your luck at the Air Playa Info desk next to baggage claim in Reno Airport, where you might meet others who are looking to drive and split gas.
If you're planning a rideshare for your return home, be very specific about where/when you'll meet your driver on the Playa. And be prepared… people do flake.
You can also hitchhike out the old fashioned way. No, really! It works. Again, multiple melons have done this over the years without an incident.
Fly To The Playa!
Hey big spender, look at you! Yes, Black Rock City has its own airport that you can fly into. It is hella fast. But it is also hella expensive (though there are recent efforts to make it less so!). And while it is probably the least stressful way to get in (no lines!) it does come with its own headaches. Like tight (25 lb.) luggage limits. And fixed schedules.
Melon Tips For Those With Wings:
You can fly to the Playa from Reno, LA, SF, Sacramento, and other cities.
Prices start at $260 one way to/from Reno.
For more details about the Burning Man Air travel, click here!
Feel free to reach out! If you are planning on walking in, hitching in, flying in or something in between there is a good chance that another Melon has done it before you. Ask other Melons (or the XVC) on our Facebook group and we'll all get through this together!